Last week, 33 members of the U.S. House of Representatives urged Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to delay two key cigar regulation deadlines until Sept. 23, 2018.
That day would constitute a 90-day extension to the current deadline for the comment period of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), a process where the agency is asking for comments on whether it should consider regulating premium cigars differently.
In the letter, the congressmen also request that the implementation of warning labels—currently scheduled for Aug. 10—be delayed until the September deadline.
The letter highlights talking points from various cigar companies, namely, the ANPRM is asking for complex and complicated data that would warrant a longer comment period. The letter cites a 120-day comment period for the use of menthol in cigarettes and a 165-day period for a smokeless tobacco ANPRM.
OMB is an executive agency that oversees rules proposed and implemented by other executive agencies. Its primary purpose is to review the economic impact of regulations for both the public and private sectors.
The cigar industry has aggressively lobbied the agency throughout both the Obama and Trump administrations. That work has had limited success. During the process of creating the deeming regulations, OMB removed restrictions that would have led to stricter regulations for flavored cigars, something FDA proposed, and changed a proposal that would have evaluated regulating premium cigars differently to exempting premium cigars.
Ultimately, the latter has proved to be elusive.
Last December, a similar group of congressmen sent a letter asking Mulvaney to exempt cigars from FDA regulation.